Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Pantheon of Chaos - a warband

This is my first backing of a Kickstarter project and my was it a good choice! You may recall me announcing my pledge and hoping to get my hands on the models in August, well a few months after that date I did get my hands on the sculpts and they jumped straight to the top of the painting queue. 

They are some proper gorgeous miniatures.

First of all they have the character that I associate with the GW 80's style of Chaos which have obviously been a huge influence on me. Secondly they are really crisp sculpts with lots of detail that just shout out to be painted with care and attention and thirdly they work so well as a group/warband; ranging from the leader (who is a great re-working of the classic image in The Lost and the Damned) to his Nurgling-esque apprentice, through to the thugs and the warriors. 

At this point I should say that the PoC crew are putting an online shop together so that if you missed the Kickstarter you can get your hands on some of these models and a choice of a whole load of others. There's a sorcerer and a troll I'm looking to add to this group...

The whole group together, I restrained my desire to convert any of them although I did add a dragons head to the base of the leader (as per the illustration) and decided to go for hex bases to add to the old school vibe.

A wonderfully mutated Warrior of Chaos. I loved the pointing gesture and the armour adorned with a grotesque face. I decided early on to go for a pale blue motif that would contrast with the warm red on the bases. A bit of weathering was added to the metallics too.

The Nurgling-esque apprentice (to have an accompanying sorcerer soon). He actually came free with my order which happily and coincidentally boosted the group to seven models! I went for a nice muted skin tone on him that was based upon my Orc skin recipe. I love his expression and I went for a powerful looking orc on  the end of his staff.

Who wouldn't want a two-headed thug in their warband? They look slightly resigned to the issue especially the bearded one who has to put up with his mate shaving every morning, what a drag!

A second warrior of chaos. Even with all that armour, his attitude still comes through; ready for battle for sure.

The second thug needed to be ginger and slightly green of complexion. Here he is.

Oh and the shields that come with these models are also ace.

And finally the leader. I wanted to paint him in really muted/pastel browns and then constrast the whole lot with a warm red base and a vivid blue dragon head. The basing was totally inspired by the illustration which also inspired the sculpt in the first place:

Oh and the shield, as expected, is awesome.

So all in all a wonderful Kickstarter project. Not only was Diego Serrato very forthcoming with information regarding a few delays with the casting and shipping, but he (I believe sculpted some of these models with some other very talented sculptors - these are seriously good miniatures and were a genuine pleasure to paint up. I hope to have done them some justice! Cheers PoC!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Modular town tiles

With some modelling of terrain underway, I decided it was time for yet another new project to house all this scenery...

For large fantasy battles I like a nice green landscape with terrain laid out either by a GM (ideally with a scenario in mind) or by one player with the other then choosing sides to set up from. I don't really like a fixed set up (although it can look splendid, it surely must become repetitive) and modular battlefields only have a limited appeal.

I have already made modular dungeon tiles for underground games, but to compete the fantasy "set" I want to make a modular townscape for skirmish games like Frostgrave and Mordheim. With a few sewer entrances I can easily link up with my dungeon tiles to continue the game underground.

So here's the plan; 9 boards that have been designed to be put together in a wide range of configurations; I initially sketched up my ideas and then transferred them to graph paper so I could measure the size of the squares and keep everything to scale:

The graph paper also helped ensure modularity, making each road be able to link up with the next road. Here are all the pieces cut up into squares:

And randomly re-arranged three times into new modular gaming boards:

You can see how these will create a wide range of variety and I'm planning on making them so that they can easily be stacked upon each other for ease of storage. My experience is telling.

Both of these are 1 level with a few roads and a statue/well in the middle section. I like the idea of a few narrow lanes too.

Slightly more complicated with raised sections which will be higher than the street level. Steps going up/down and a footbridge across one road section.

A double raised area at the top will be three layers of foam thick, hence the additional steps.

The market square, with roads running around the outside so it can link up with the roads of any other board.

The canal runs down the middle, so the outside will be slightly raised. A footbridge spans this section. I'll be adding details like sewer pipes, mooring posts and walkways under bridges (perfect for trolls).

A road bridge runs over this canal section. A raised section at the bottom with two tunnels

So to make these I will be using 20mm extruded polystyrene (thicker than my dungeon tiles to add extra height and so I can carve steps, curbs, cobblestones etc into them). They've been ordered and I have my glue gun, knives and pencils at the ready to start making. I'm not sure I've been quite so excited about a project for a while...

Oh and here's what has inspired me (images from google, apologies for not being able to give credit to the makers):

Monday, 27 March 2017

Modelling Workshop 1: Town House. White Dwarf 137

Games Workshop's White Dwarf magazines from circa late 80's into the early 90's, really captured my teenage imagination and inspired me to immerse myself in the hobby then, almost as they still do now. I was a particular fan of the Modelling Workshop articles, where for the first time in my life, I was given instruction on how to scratchbuild, which was a step forward from the model Airfix kits I had previously been working with. All of a sudden my pocket money wasn't just to be spent on trips to Reading GW to just buy lead miniatures, but I now tried to get my hands on some foamcard and balsa wood; both of which transformed my modelmaking repertoire. They are still at the core of my scrathcbuilding/modelmaking I've just added extruded foam to the equation.

So armed with the experience I had gained some 25 years ago, I delved back into my old White Dwarfs and re-examined the Modelling Workshop articles. I soon decided that I wanted to tackle all of the fantasy articles from the period (another project to work towards..)! It just so happens that I still own the original Townhouse that I made back then (it's remarkably well made) and I wanted to do an adults version to see if I had improved or not over the past quarter of a decade. It also acted as a demonstration model for my modelmaking club at school, where the students are working on these same designs as well as various Airfix/AoS/40k models.

So for my modern version, I wanted to create a tavern using the townhouse structure. It just meant putting a patio out the front (eventually I'll make some benches and tables), creating a name; The Spotted Dog which is stolen from Fighting Fantasy's City of Thieves and a brazier and barrel for decoration:

Here's my original one, with a few later additions, namely the base, tree and fleur-de-lis. Only the chimney pots are damaged from the original build:

Which version is the better? The green moss looks a bit flat on the new (right hand side) version and the door looks tiny! I think I stuck to the plans much more carefully in my youth and probably spent about three times as much time on it; which is especially apparent on the painting. The new version was painted in about 30minutes (wet in wet and dry brushing - from memory the original took a long while longer). Anyway, I'll let you decide!

A few more angles:

And the original article with all the plans and instructions, as hopefully some of you readers may be tempted to re-visit the making of these classic buildings from our youth:

And finally a few images that I used for research and inspiration. I meant to add some hanging baskets but forgot - they'll go on my next build.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Magnetic movement trays and storage

I started doing this after a "prompt" from my missus: "Your models and little men are starting to take up too much room under the bed; I'd like to get some space back for my shoes". Now I was quite happy to be given a hobby related task by my lovely wife and of course I really wanted to ensure she has enough shoe space, so last night I set about trying to rectify the problem.

A lot of my models are in those sponge GW cases which whilst protecting well, do take up a lot of space for a small number of models. Also when they are stored in them, I can't see them and glance over my handy work. I tested the waters with view on getting a Display Glass Cabinet, but it was not met with much enthusiasm - and she does have a point, we don't really have anywhere to put it, certainly not until I get my man shed...

So I got hold of some big plastic storage boxes, found my old bits of sheet and strip magnets as well as my paper steel and set about making some magnetised movement trays that would then in turn be magnetised to the bottom of the storage boxes. Below you can see me working on my ogre unit as an example:

The thin steel paper has a self adhesive layer and was trimmed to fit inside the movement tray which I had already made. Thankfully (from experience) I had the foresight to make the lip of the tray higher than necessary so that the additional layers and bulk of magnet and steel wouldn't leave the models higher than the tray's lip.

Self-adhesive magnets were cut and applied to the bottom of the base.

Some steel paper was then applied to the bottom of the movement tray. In future I would consider actually making the entire movement tray out of steel, so as to skip two of these steps, but for now I'm adjusting what I already have.

The finished, fully magnetised unit.

And in the storage box. I've used strips of magnetic tape across the width of the bottom of the box, again self-adhesive and the movement tray is now firmly positioned in the box. 

Here you can see some further progress with other units. This is box 1 of 2. This box is my "Allied/Mercenary Factions" box; Chaos Allies with Centaurs, Minotaurs, Chaos Dwarves and of course the Ogres. I'll be adding Orcs and Goblins, a Giant and a Dragon to this box.

Next up is my Lost and the Damned Nurgle Army, containing all the units that are represented in the army list from that tome. (Hence why Centaurs and Minotaurs have become Allies). Some Plague Knights, Skeletons, Diseased Flagellants a War Altar and a Plague Cart all need to be added to this box.
So magnetising all of this will take some more evenings, but hey, I was asked to do it! 

(ps. it hasn't saved a great deal of space under the bed, perhaps enough for two extra pairs of shoes, but it is certainly tidier and allows me to take out the box and have a look over my creations...). Win win!